In the sixteenth and final episode of the second season of The 100, goddamn. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The 100.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of blood/gore/violence, and nonconsensual medical procedures.
If there’s a thematic tie to everything I’ve seen in these twenty-nine episodes, it’s this: Perhaps there are no good guys. Over the course of two seasons of this show, the line between good and evil has become increasingly muddied. Through the situations devised by the writers, we’re asked a number of difficult questions about survival. What exactly do we tolerate when human life is at stake? Is it ever okay to sacrifice life in order to preserve other life? What is considered unforgivable? Justifiable? And is it all a matter of perspective in the end?
The answer is understandably complicated.
Blood Must Have Blood
I now understand why this finale is titled as such. I always assumed that it was referencing the Grounders’ need for revenge over what the Mountain Men did to their people. But after Lexa got what she wanted, trading Clarke’s people in the process, the story changed. What was Clarke willing to do to rescue her friends? What about Octavia and Bellamy?
Initially, I had not a single concept of how this was all going to work. With only five people working to free the others, this plan was doomed to fail. To make matters worse, the Mountain Men had already abducted more of the Camp Jaha folks, adding Abby, Kane, and Miller to the group that they’d steal bone marrow from. The show ups the stakes, and then does it again, and again, and again. This truly felt even more suspenseful than the previous episode, and that’s saying something. But why is that? Why did this episode inspire such distress in me? It wasn’t just that I was unsure where it would go. For me, the emotional weight of the actions on the screen tormented me. I knew that Bellamy, Monty, and Clarke were all struggling with something that seemed horrific to them. This entire time, Clarke was unwilling to consider a plan that put innocent lives in danger.
But the stakes changed. The risk was now about something else. Clarke realizes that if she doesn’t act quickly and dramatically, they’ll all watch their friends and family die in the dorm room. A lot of characters here claim that they don’t have a choice, and I think I understand why that’s used so frequently within this story. It’s about forced into a tragedy where neither option available provides the answer that a person needs. While Jasper tries to assassinate Cage from within the dorm room, can that guarantee that their people won’t be exploited? Or will someone else take Cage’s place? Would Jasper be killed, all for the surviving soldiers and doctors to stay the course? At that point, they knew that Cage was willing to sacrifice his father for the “greater good,” so it’s understandable that Clarke believed that nothing would stop him. Thus, the choice evolves. It’s not between saving her people and sparing the innocent. She and Bellamy realize that in order to save their own, the people of Mount Weather must die. Those people fundamentally cannot survive without the constant exploitation of others. Without the reapers or Grounders, who is left to steal from?
That’s the parallel we’re given. Cage and Dante know that the Arc folks will never stop trying to rescue their own, and Clarke, Bellamy, and Monty know that the Mountain Men must rely on the literal blood of others to survive. So what choice is left? It’s not that they don’t have any choices; it’s that they’ve been backed into a corner where the only conceivable options are submission/death OR destruction/survival. This is made even more complex when you consider that this is not the first time since Clarke came to the ground that she’s had to make a decision like this. She killed Finn to save the alliance; she killed multiple grounders to survive; she allowed hundreds of people to die to protect Bellamy.
And now, what is she supposed to die? Watch Cage kill her mother and all her friends? Even Bellamy realizes that he long ago promised to do anything to protect his sister. Doesn’t this count? That’s not to say that The 100 takes this lightly. If anything, the show has always refused to make this kind of plot an easy experience for the characters and the audience. It’s still an excruciating scene to watch because… well, shit. Clarke, Bellamy, and Monty kill hundreds of people. Children. Allies. Maya. Everyone inside of Mount Weather, aside from Cage and Emerson, dies. For what it’s worth, I think it’s important to note that Maya’s final words ring incredibly true: no one was innocent. I’d like to interpret that as her way of telling Jasper that this inevitably had to happen. The people of Mount Weather probably knew exactly what was keeping them alive, and many of them were complicit in the system existing. As I said before, these people could not have survived without exploitation. It was impossible in any scenario.
Thus, blood must have blood. The people of Mount Weather died because they stole blood for generations, and this is how they paid. Y’all, I feel like I could write an entire thesis about how the culture in Mount Weather is a stunning metaphor for systemic oppression, given that in order for one group to survive and thrive, they must repress and exploit those below them. Am I sad about Maya and the other allies dying? Of course. Maya did not deserve her fate. But that’s the difficult scenario we’re now forced to accept. In order to save those they cared for, Clarke and her friends had to sacrifice the Mountain Men.
I have no idea what’s in store for them. There seems to be a suggestion of peace here, at least since Camp Jaha has no more conflict with the Grounders. But Clarke feels no peace or closure after what she’s done. If anything, she’s more lost than ever, which is tragically paralleled with Octavia, who no longer belongs to her Grounder clan or the people of Camp Jaha. Where do these two go from here? Can they ever find peace? I DON’T KNOW, BUT I WISH I HAD ALL OF SEASON THREE READY FOR ME TO WATCH.
It’s fitting, then, that the next chapter of The 100 and for both Jaha and Murphy is so deliberately disruptive. These characters found The Promised Land, and they now realize there’s no peace or closure to be provided by such a place. It’s a fascinating take on the whole destiny plot anyway, given that Jaha may have followed his path in order to assist AN ANTAGONIST, not a source of help. Oh my gods, what does this MEAN to the world of The 100? Murphy discovers what seems like the answer to all of the miserableness he’s gone through, but that video he discovers… damn it. That man was referring to A.L.I.E., wasn’t he? If “she got the launch codes” means what I think it does, does that mean that an artificial intelligence started the war? Or wants to start another one? How long has this being been observing the events on Earth? Why all the abandoned boats on the shore? Why the mines? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS, AND NONE OF THEM ARE BEING ANSWERED!
Seriously, I can’t wait for season three. This might be the most fun I’ve ever had making videos for this site, and writing about The 100 has been incredibly rewarding. At this point, I’ll wait until season 3 finishes airing before putting the show back into my Double Features spot. I’ve got Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion to complete in the meantime. I’ll start up Death Note once I return from my trip to Boston for Arisia and Detroit for ConFusion, and I don’t suspect there will be any more Double Feature breaks for a long time.
Thank you all for getting me into this show. Holy shit, I’m a fan.
The video for “Blood Must Have Blood, Part Two” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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